Where is it the hardest to live your faith? At your work? Maybe. At church?...lots of spiritual comfort there. With your neighbors? We are called to love and serve our neighbors. All is good in the neighborhood.
Let's ask this...Who do you have the most expectations for? Who do you find easy to judge, to "correct," to metaphorically be comfortable with, really be yourself...?
...Your household. Your kin. Your close family.
The townspeople of Nazareth didn't get Jesus. He was from their lowly town and nothing good ever came out of Nazareth. How could this son of their neighbor, this brother of one of their buddies, ...this Nazarene, be so knowledgeable of scripture, share such wisdom? After all, he (He) was the son of a carpenter, he grew up with them, had the same experiences, same customs...
These fellow citizens with Jesus, missed it. Their unbelief, skepticism, maybe even jealousy, kept them distant from really seeing God, who came to bring fellowship with the Father--so very close. He was their own neighbor, friend, maybe even their half-brother.
God moved among them yet their unbelief, their own ideas about themselves, that they just were not worthy enough, --and who was he (He) to tell us any different...kept them from knowing who He really was--the Messiah. In the last part of this verse it says that He did not do many miracles there.
It wasn't because there wasn't a need.
Great is the need, our need. Greater still is our sin and our need to reconcile.
They didn't ask Him, seek Him, truly follow Him, listen and process the Words that would heal, Their pride and their unbelief, maybe even unwillingness to truly connect and know Him brought their own isolation from the One who walked among them.
So close, yet still so far.
In my special education class, the Renaissance kids (student leadership) collaborate with our students for one period during the week. They interact and stimulate conversation, peer to peer, teenager to teenager. It is awesome.
This week's project: a miniature hot air balloon made from a Dixie cup, yarn and...you got it, a balloon--a bit under inflated with helium. Pictures of our kids were taken the week before, cut out, mounted on cardboard placed inside the Dixie cup. The kids got to see "themselves" float around the room.
I got to thinking about faith and trust and my own "balloon ride" in that journey I had quite a few crash landings, but God never left me and continues to teach me His ways, His direction--and I pray I am listening and honoring Him.
Sometimes it is just a "cardboard cutout," of ourselves, a flattend version minus the things we want to hang on to that we've placed in the basket of faith. God sees all of us. The launching moments of climbing high brought us salvation, but soon, the basket comes floating back down, the heaviness of our burdens not allowing us to see beyond to the horizon of what God can and wants to do in our lives. It's like having a brand new Mercedes Benz, but never driving it, keeping it locked up in the garage.
Having experienced life, its hurts and God's healing, some want to help, to understand, to encourage and give a good word, maybe some wisdom from their own ride. Unwilling to accept, the root of bitterness keeps JOY waiting in the wings.
It is the miracle of seeing who Jesus really is and how to live free, soaring under His protection and purpose that gives true hope in a broken and hurt-filled world.
The belief in ourselves and our feelings rather than His desires for us, more than the belief in the power He has to change us and our thoughts, is like the under-inflated balloon. It soon floats down to the street view. It's comfortable there. It's what we know.
You don't get it. That's who you are, not me...Who are you to tell me?...
--and they took offense.
So close, yet still so far.
Lord, Please help us to accept wisdom, even when the lessons are so hard. Help us to be discerning, to be obedient to Your will for us and how to let go of the hurts that keep us grounded and isolated. Help us Lord to get close to You and not drift away in our own worldy thoughts. Lord, I don't want to be a cardboard version of myself in You, but be all You want me to be, learning to fly high in surrender and feel the love of those you've put in my life for fellowship as we help each other through the ups and downs of this life. Thank you Lord for giving us Your Word. May we study, discern and know its truth and live accordingly so that You will be glorified and believed in us. I believe Lord, help me with my unbelief. Amen.